This year the unimaginable has happened-again and again- families from local towns to places I’d never heard of are being torn apart on a far too common basis. Lives are being lost all across our nation, the pain of staying here in the midst of what they are facing everyday fells like too much…..once we hear of the aftermath, we are ready to defend- to change things. Our newsfeeds on Facebook automatically light up with what has become the standard outrage against bullying. The ‘correct’ words are said about stopping this behavior, teaching our kids better than this, and how much needs to change in our schools. All the right words- and yet families are still left grieving in a way that hurts too bad to even try to imagine…..
What is happening? As moms we are supposed to teach our children to be kind, to look out for those who need it, and to treat others how we wish to be treated. Empathy, compassion, and kindness are supposed to be the lessons we impart in our children. They are supposed to be the words we live by.
Why are we not seeing those lessons played out in our schools?
What happens when too many of the ones who are supposed to be teaching our children not to bully are really the ones who are leading the way- pitch forks and torches in hand- chanting those very words towards other moms and even worse, sometimes about the peers in their children’s lives, that are supposed to be taboo?
MOM BULLIES are sadly and shockingly a very real force in the world of mom clubs/groups/and social media pages. They come from all walks of life. All careers, economic backgrounds, church affiliations, and ages. They walk among us with the same arrogance as the mean girls of middle and high school. Rarely challenged- loudly hateful. Why?? How are they allowed to continue their reign of terror?
In this world of anti bullying campaigns and stories in our own back yards that make our hearts stop and our eyes fill with tears, why are we as MOMS- grown up adult women- allowing this kind of behavior to flourish among us? Most of us are challenging our children to stand up to those who seek to destroy the weakest in their peer groups. We preach the power of social media on an almost daily basis and yet when faced with watching another mom be belittled and torn apart in our own circles, it is rare to find a mom willing to stand against even the smallest group of these momsters. The fear of being the next target is still just as strong in adult life as it was in the lunch room oh so many years ago.
The power of words in our daily lives is tremendous. They are life giving at their best. They hurt feelings, destroy confidence, and (horribly) end lives at their worst. Unfortunately as moms who run a social media group we’ve seen the pain that the words of these mom bullies can cause in the lives of another mom. We’ve tried to remedy those hurt feelings and shredded confidences, cried tears of our own, and more than once wondered if it was worth trying to create the type of group that we know could exist. We have asked ourselves, our husbands, our outside friends, and each other why it is allowed to continue. We’ve come to remember and understand with even greater sorrow what it is some of our kids face daily. It’s heartbreaking and angering.
Of course, we’ve also seen something in real life, that every good teen movies tries to remind us of. When a bully is stood up to, when they are called on their behavior, they run like roaches from the light. Over and over, we have seen that the answer is truly that simple. One voice on behalf of those who need it- changes everything.
What if our children saw US stand up for those in our peer groups who are being destroyed?
What if we made it unacceptable to spread hate?
Maybe then those who do it would be the only ones left in the dark.
We owe it to our children to lead the flashlight expedition. We owe it to ourselves to scatter the roaches.
We can’t continue to live ‘Do as I say not as I do’ when the truth that we are seeing everyday is that this has become a life and death situation in our schools and our homes. Our children are losing friends- WE are losing friends. Standing up after a life is lost isn’t enough. WE are responsible for making the world a better place for not only our kids but also for the women who are trying just as hard as we are. Kindness and courage cost us nothing. Standing up for someone who needs it might just be the life line that saves another family from a loss we can’t begin to comprehend….
If you or someone you know feels like you don’t want to stay here, please reach out. You are not alone and you are loved more than you can imagine!
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255